What causes osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of joint pain. All chronic disease starts with damage to certain cell types. This then damages tissue which causes the symptoms we feel.
The real driver behind cartilage loss is the health of specialised cells called chondrocytes. These amazing cells secrete and repair cartilage matrix. Anything that affects chondrocyte cells could cause cartilage damage. Mechanical force (injury) can trigger an increase in free radicals which can cause the death of chondrocytes. In some cases it is as much about a failure of cell antioxidants defences.
The problem is that chondrocytes cannot replicate. Once a chondrocyte dies, the tiny patch of cartilage it maintained will eventually disintegrate. The body tries to fix the problem through the process of inflammation which is ineffective it ends up making the problem worse. In my experience the inflammatory part of OA causes more pain and discomfort than the actual cartilage loss.
Just a note that commonly prescribed cholesterol lowering medication can either cause joint pain or worsen the pain from existing arthritis. In these cases I add a high grade Co enzyme Q10 (CoQSol) to replace that lost by the medication. Call me for details.
I have many clients that are largely symptom free despite having significant cartilage loss. I have been dealing with a couple where one has an arthritic knee while the other has OA in the spine and hip. I started them on a double dose of my joint supplement.
This meant that they were initially taking 1600mg of both chondroitin and glucosamine and 400mg of a potent 95 per cent curcumin (turmeric) extract.
I put both of them on a double dose of my high chondroitin/turmeric joint product and both are much more comfortable. The sore back is much better and the hip and knee pain have significantly reduced. Osteoarthritis (OA) is mostly caused by the loss of cartilage secreting cells called chondrocytes. Their job is to maintain cartilage. If chondrocytes are damaged or die they are unable to repair cartilage. The result is that cartilage starts to breakdown. Eventually whole patches of cartilage are lost causing a bone on bone scenario.
While cartilage has no nerves, bone certainly does! While bone on bone causes pain, much of the pain comes from misdirected inflammation. White blood cells that patrol the joint capsule respond to cartilage loss by bringing in extra fluid and a cocktail of inflammatory chemicals in a vain attempt to repair the cartilage. The result is pain, stiffness and in some cases visible swelling.
My approach is firstly to adopt a nutrient dense antiinflammatory diet.
This is high in antioxidants, Omega 3 and other foods that reduce inflammation. We then add four compounds from supplements. The first is Omega 3 fish oil usually between 4000 and 6000mg daily. We then add high grade chondroitin sulphate at 800-1600mg.
Chondroitin sulphate (CS) is the most important joint supplement. CS is an actual component of cartilage and adding this helps chondrocytes to work properly. The problem is that most joint supplements only contain around 250mg of CS.
In most cases I start clients on 1600mg. We then add the same amount of glucosamine and a potent 95 per cent curcumin extract from turmeric.
As an example I have one client with OA in his knees. This was bad enough to significantly impact mobility.
After three months on a personalised programme he is now able to exercise again. His partner had OA in her thumbs and shoulders and is much better. Feel free to contact me for personalised advice.
John Arts (B Soc Sci, Dip Tch, Adv Dip Nut Med) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health Ltd. For questions or advice contact John on 0800 423559 or email [email protected]dant.co.nz. Join his full weekly newsletter at www.abundant.co.nz.